The man with a he-she voice
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Others have done it you know, singing a song with both male and female voices  but Marcelito Pomoy has a unique way of doing it. While others make themselves up one side male and the other side female, Marcelito is simply himself  male, that is,  and that must have been what won the nod of the judges (Freddie Garcia, Ai-Ai de las Alas and Kris Aquino) of the ABS-CBN talent search Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT)  which Marcelito topped hands down, with the televiewers’ approval.

His winning piece was The Prayer. From the very start of the finals staged at the Araneta Coliseum, it was very clear that Marcelito enjoyed a safe edge over the 13 other contestants. His rendition was astounding, his timing precise, not missing a beat as he smoothly shifted from male voice to female voice. He might as well be doing a solo/duet.

Marcelito was a “winner” when he sang at The STAR’s 25th-anniversary party at the Manila Hotel last July 28, giving a performance as whole-heartedly as he did in PGT. 

When Marcelito auditioned for PGT, he lacked sleep and he sang his piece with a hoarse, tired voice the male voice  so he switched to his female voice and the screening committee loved it. It turned out to be a good move because his audition piece was an original by a female singer, Narito Ako by Regine, his favorite singer.

He never thought he’d make it.

“I came all the way from Cavite where I lived and I even had to borrow transportation money,” said Marcelito. “It took three weeks before I got a call informing me that I passed the audition. When I sang Narito Ako, I sounded very female and everybody thought that I was lipsynching, so they asked to sing again in my dual voice.”

Since he was a kid, Marcelito has been singing (using his female voice) Regine Velasquez songs and, using his male voice, songs by Ogie Alcasid, his other favorite.

“Hindi pang-rap ang boses ko,” said Marcelito, 26, “pang-ballad talaga.”

He used to hawk balut for a living in Surigao where he spent his childhood and while resting, he would sing in his dual voice. A late-bloomer, Marcelito joined his first singing contest at 24, barely a year before he competed in PGT and nailed the championship.

Like Jovit Baldivino, the siomai vendor from Batangas who also won in PGT and with whom he shares a manager, Jocelyn Maranan, Marcelito has a sob story to tell.

“When I was two years old, my father was charged with arson and was imprisoned. Pero sa totoo lang, wala siyang kasalanan; napagbintangan lang siya na nagsunog ng palengke,” related Marcelito who is second among four children. “Our mother left us to look for a job but she never came back. When our father heard what happened, he asked permission (from the prison authorities) to let us live with him in prison. ‘Yung pagkain ng father namin kami na ang kumakain. ‘Yung mga preso ambag-ambag sa pagbili ng pagkain. Then, our father got sick and a policeman advised him to give us away for adoption. We stayed inside the prison for only a few months.”

Except for the eldest, Marcelito and his three siblings were adopted by the kind policeman who told him that their mother was in Manila.

“So I left Surigao to look for her. I found her in Cavite.”

Sadly, said Marcelito, he didn’t have any feeling for his mother.

“She abandoned us. N’ung natagpuan ko siya, tinanong ko siya kung kelan ako ipinanganak, hindi daw niya alam. So I started doubting if she’s really my mother. Ang masakit pa sa akin, sinabi niya sa akin na isa lang ang anak niya, ‘yung panganay lang daw. Kaya kaming tatlong magkakapatid galit sa kanya. But I know that I will learn how to forgive her.”

Then came PGT that marked the turning point in Marcelito’s life.

As PGT champion, he received P2 million. Under contract with ABS-CBN and Star Records, Marcelito has just come up with his debut album, Do It Yourself, done in his dual voice as expected.

Asked in which voice he’s comfortable, Marcelito said, “Sa boses babae,” insisting that he’s straight. But his speaking voice is boses-lalaki.

From a life of isang-kahig/isang-tuka, earning a measly P100 per night hawking balut (and working as a construction worker on the side), Marcelito now lives comfortably in a rented condo in Quezon City, with her manager as his foster mother. He supports his siblings, including his father who is out of prison.

Eventually, when the novelty wears off, in what voice will Marcelito concentrate on, the male one or the female one?

“Boses-lalaki. But I will go on singing boses-babae depende sa song.”

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